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Leader or laggard, how omnichannel savvy are you?

September 25, 2015

There have recently been a number of industry publications sharing interesting insights on the ever-growing omnichannel trend. In examining the role of omnichannel, there are a number of things marketers should think about, such as:

 

Let’s examine the answers to these questions below.

 

How will physical and digital channels change in strategic importance in the next years?

 

A report, “Online Retailing in Europe, the U.S. and Canada 2015‐2016”, released by the Center for Retail Research for RetailMeNot provides us with the following figures:

The figures show the combination of a growth of online and a slight anticipated decrease of offline, which remains the undisputed main channel even in the UK where online is most developed representing 15.2% of all retail sales.

 

It is important to understand then, that online is not only a standalone sales channel but it is actually influencing offline sales. This fact has been conceptualised as “web-influenced” sales, to demonstrate the full importance of the digital channel and its interactions with the physical channel, which are at the core of omnichannel. Recent reports by Deloitte and Forrester Research further support the importance of the “web-influenced” sphere. In fact, in its “Navigating The New Digital Divide” report, Deloitte estimates that the percentage of in-store sales influenced by digital has grown steadily from 14% in 2012, to 36% in 2013, 49% in 2014, 64% in 2015 and should be close to 100% in 2019. Forrester is more conservative however, forecasting that by 2020 digital will influence 53% of total retail sales in EU-7, including a combination of online sales and offline sales influenced by online research.

 

In this environment where sales in physical stores remain the standard but are increasingly influenced by digital, a recent survey of 200 retail CxOs in Europe from Pierre Audoin Consultants, “Omnichannel Retail in Europe”, shows that the European retailers expect digital channels to become more strategically important in the next five years, but not at the expense of the store. Some 85% of German retailers and 80% of their French peers believe that the physical branch will become more strategically important by 2020, compared to 62% of retailers in the UK.

 

A report from the Center for Retail Research, states that successful retailers will be defined by their ability to operate online as an omnichannel business, as well as operating physical stores in a very competitive environment. The physical store will continue to go through an optimisation phase which has already started: a recent study by L2, “Omnichannel Retail 2015”, has shown that omnichannel leaders have been closing stores and optimising the performance of remaining ones simultaneously, achieving a better global store performance overall compared to omnichannel laggards. Moving forward, retailers should therefore work at merging the physical and digital worlds through strategies such as drive to store, phygital and store to web. Aside from pure players, which limit themselves to the online channel, retailers are listening to their customers – the ones driving omnichannel in many instances. In a survey from Pierre Audoin Consultants, 85% of European retailers stated that their omnichannel retail strategy is in place because customers are demanding it, while 89% said that their omnichannel initiatives are being driven by a need to improve the customer experience.

 

How far advanced are retailers in integrating physical and online channels?

 

For L2, whether a retailer has a strong “omnichannel IQ” or not is determined by their investments in the following:

 

L2 warns companies not to forget about the real essence of omnichannel: many organisations still think about omnichannel as an extension of their digital business or as a sexier name for e-commerce, evidenced by the fact that 41% of executives in senior omnichannel roles come directly from an e-commerce background. By failing to adopt a holistic approach, retailers miss the opportunity for clicks/bricks interplay.

 

So how are retailers performing on these aspects? IAB Europe recently conducted an Advertiser Mobile Audit on where the top media spending automotive and retail brands in nine European countries (including the UK) stand in relation to their mobile properties (websites and apps). In this audit, 219 automotive brands (approximately the top 25 in each market) and 394 retail brands (approximately the top 50 in each market) were audited against the following criteria, very much matching the ones mentioned by L2:

 

Despite the store locator function being integral to addressing consumers’ expectations of their online to offline shopping journey, the results found that:

 

 

How will retailers execute their omnichannel strategies? Will they look to work with external partners, and in what areas will they look for support?

 

Pierre Audoin Consultants’ report states that non-tech challenges are the biggest omnichannel headaches with more than 80% of the companies interviewed stating that the development of a long-term channel integration strategy was a major challenge, while three quarters named transforming internal organisation structures as a pressing concern.

 

The biggest regional differences were in the responses from German and UK retailers. The development of a long-term strategy is a huge concern for the former (cited by 73% as a major

challenge), as was the need to make changes to the organisational structure (68%). But UK retailers are much more optimistic on long-term strategy planning (38% see it as a major challenge), and instead are much more concerned about understanding customer activity across multiple channels (43% vs 15% in Germany).

 

Support from third-party service providers is welcomed: the majority of retailers (57%) believe that they would benefit from external support in implementing and integrating omnichannel solutions. This reflects how stretched many internal IT teams at retailer companies have become in 2015, and shows that retailers have an appreciation of how difficult it can be to drive channel integration – not just in terms of technology, but also in transforming and optimising business processes. Retailers should aim to use best-of–breed, ‘off the shelf’ technologies, such as Solocal’s BRIDGE for store locators, to ease time and cost investment.

 

Improving omnichannel IQ by listening to the market and acting with agility

 

Let’s summarise this post’s key learnings:

With this in mind, retailers should capitalise on these opportunities in the coming months to grow their omnichannel IQ and leadership for 2016.

 

 


Internet Retailing – Shoppers are now mobile first, but many retailers still have to catch up

November 25, 2014

Sans titre 1

People are spending more time connected to mobile devices, particularly smartphones. At the same time customers expect their preferred brands to be able to answer every question they may have during their shopping journey and beyond; they want this information available anytime, anywhere and on any device. Unfortunately not all brands are addressing the consumer desire and expectation for mobility and according to a recent study from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Kantar Media the result is that, “69% of UK adults are frustrated by brand sites that aren’t mobile-ready”.

This kind of frustration can be really harmful for brands. Indeed, at each stage of the customer journey, there is a risk that the brand could lose the customer if they don’t sufficiently engage with them and meet their requirements. On mobiles in particular, when shoppers encounter a flaw or lack of information, they might be tempted to switch to a competitor who is better equipped to engage with them, or may even abandon their intent to purchase all together. Having even one weakness along the customer path could dissuade potential customers from continuing on their purchase journey, harming the marketing strategies which have been implemented along the way, the overall brand and of course return on investment overall.

The typical customer journey is comprised of three main stages where mobile is a key element: discovery and research, engagement and conversion and purchase. Here’s how to improve the mobile customer journey at every step.

READ FULL ARTICLE

 


Solocal Group UK launches Local Ideas blog and creative business initiative sharing platform

July 14, 2014

Solocal Group, market specialist in cost effective multichannel marketing, has today announced the launch of its Local Ideas blog and professional resource in the UK. With multiple contributions published weekly across 26 different business sectors, the blog brings the business community together by providing a platform for creative initiatives and inspiration in retail and service businesses.

Professionals are able to share their own success stories and creative ideas surrounding a wide variety of innovations impacting positively on customer experience. These innovations include the use of new technologies, fresh marketing initiatives, disruptive retail concepts, inventive in-store services and innovative advertising campaigns. The blog showcases examples of these smart initiatives, from the simplest to the most bold, from a diverse range of brands, retailers and service providers. The UK launch follows the success of Idées Locales, the award winning* French edition of the blog, which originally launched in 2012.

Bruno Berthezene, Solocal Group UK Country Manager, commented: “Solocal Group has historical expertise in local digital communication and through Local Ideas is able to act as a partner for brands and retailers seeking advice and support in the development of their business through innovation. The ambition of the blog is to stimulate entrepreneurial creativity and provide an essential resource to help businesses thrive and differentiate themselves from the competition in a highly competitive multichannel environment. Particularly, it is Solocal Group’s belief that combining the best of online and offline worlds will allow to offer a great customer experience, which should be the ultimate goal for businesses.”


PR contact for Solocal Group UK

Elisabeth Goossens / Lucy Mulvin
Liberty Comms
solocal@libertycomms.com

+44 (0)207 751 4444